Leica Special Editions: Desirable or a complete waste of space?
"I'm done with Leica" was the attention-grabbing headline over an article by Stephen Shaub at figitalrevolution.com. What had Leica done to deserve this? It seems Stephen is brassed off with Leica because of the most recent special edition, the Leica M-P Correspondent designed by Lenny Kravitz. He wasn't too complimentary about the M60 Edition either: "The Dumbest Idea Ever".
Now I respect Stephen's views and, to some extent, I can understand his point of view. But really I cannot agree. While I confess I was not too familiar with Mr. Kravitz before he started rubbing the paint off his Leica, I do rather like the brassy look. I have a twelve-year-old MP that is brassing nicely and I think it is beautiful. Paint wearing thin over brass has a cachet that aluminium of other bright alloys can never match. What harm does it do to issue a pre-brassed version for all those armchair war correspondents? If it sells and makes a few people happy, where's the harm in that?
Leica has a long history of special editions, some still very desirable, some regarded as something of a joke. But I cannot see how any of them detract from the marque and would make someone decide not to buy a modern Leica.
Take the Dumbest-Idea-Ever model. Again, I disagree entirely with Stephen's verdict. The M60 Edition is not a dumb idea. In fact, it is rather inspirational. A digital version of a film camera with just three tweak able options—speed, aperture and ISO—is something many Leica fans would welcome. If I whisper very quietly, those are basically the three adjustments I use with the new M-P. Since I shoot in RAW, many of the available options that clutter most modern cameras are redundant. And as for the "movie" button, nothing more needs be said. If Leica turned the screenless M60 into a production model at a realistic price I could be first in the queue.
Special editions are fun and help bring attention to the marque, something that Leica does pretty well. So no, Stephen, I can't agree with your stand on this.
If you are in the market, the M-P Correspondent, complete with two brassed-off lenses, a 35mm Summicron and 50mm Summilux, comes in an attractive leather attaché case and will cost £17,800, including VAT. On the plus side, however, is the fact that only 125 sets will be produced (unlike the M60 Edition which ran to 600) so it likely to be pretty exclusive.
If you are not tempted with the M-P Correspondent and are feeling a bit of cheapskate, why not save yourself £10,000 and go for the M-P Safari with a 35mm Summicron? Pretty much the same camera, minus the destructive hand of Mr. Kravitz, all for a bargain-basement £7,850.